According to a Chapman University student’s op-ed, people with middle-of-the-road political views have “centrist privilege” — something that’s “vile,” and similar to white privilege.
“Liberals and progressives can be quick to call attention to many privileges, but one that often goes unrecognized is centrist privilege,” Matthew Q. Joy writes in a piece titled “Centrism is a privilege” for the school’s official newspaper, The Panther.
“In a political environment that receives criticism for polarization, it has become almost honorable to self-describe as a ‘moderate’ or a ‘centrist,’” Joy continues. “While there is value in recognizing opposing viewpoints and reaching compromises, the Republican Party has become too conservative for this to be possible.”
According to Joy, “liberals who follow the moderate, compromising path — as opposed to holding steadfast progressive values — quietly benefit from the struggles of countless Americans:”
“Centrism is as vile as right-wing conservatism, but it contains the additional atrocity of having no social consequences for holding views that leave fellow Americans at a disadvantage. This creates a type of privilege. . . . Just as progressives denounce white privilege, it is time to denounce centrist privilege.”
Now, I know that it’s a hot new trend among uber-progressives to come up with more and more kinds of “privilege” to sound smart, but honestly, Joy couldn’t be more wrong about this one. In a climate this polarized, having any sort of political view isn’t a privilege . . . it’s a curse. No matter what your views are, you’re going to have to deal with people who not only disagree with you, but who also actually hate you because of what you think — and people who are “centrists” or “moderates” are not at all exempt from the “social consequences” the way that Joy thinks they are.
The most ridiculous thing about Joy’s piece is probably that it in itself proves the opposite of his own point. Think about it: Joy is trying to say that centrists basically never get called out, that they face “no social consequences” for being centrists, while he’s literally writing an entire piece calling out centrists. It’s not that he’s doing something new, either. After all, more radical progressives having problems with “centrist” Democrats is exactly what led to the push for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 election, and that push was pretty damn popular. It’s true on the other side, too: If you call yourself “conservative,” but don’t support, say, building a literal wall to keep immigrants out, then you’re going to get slammed as a “cuck” and a “snowflake” by some of the people who do. So many of today’s political movements literally pride themselves on being a slap in the face to centrism, so the fact that Joy actually believes moderates are somehow immune to criticism is one of the more insane things that I’ve ever heard.
The truth is, when it comes to political views, the only “privileged” people are probably the ones who don’t have them. The people who are living under rocks, with no idea what’s going on — they have no risk of developing beliefs that they’ll ultimately be hated for having. Sure, they’ll still probably be hated for refusing to get involved (see: Taylor Swift), but the one thing they’ll have going for them is that they just won’t care.
(This article was previously covered in a piece in The College Fix.)
– Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review Online.